Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathway at West Springfield High School

Employment in advanced manufacturing requires specialized training and skills beyond high school. As a result of this specialized training, the advanced manufacturing companies in the region prefer to hire someone with an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology. The Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) gives students a competitive advantage in entering the job market because it provides students with a unique combination of theoretical and practical knowledge of today’s design and manufacturing processes. This program also equips students with knowledge of CAD, CAM, Quality concepts, additive manufacturing, and the set-up and operation of multitasking CNC equipment.

In order to prepare for college-level work, high school students should take as many science, computer, and mathematics courses as possible.

Today’s manufacturing facilities are clean, well-lit, and safe work environments that thrive on teamwork and cooperation, and demand employees who possess a range of skills and personal qualities, that include:

  • Effective Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Creativity and Attention to Detail
  • Analytical and Mechanical Competencies
  • Mathematics and Computer Proficiencies

Over the last two decades, manufacturing has been employing higher skilled and more highly educated workers. Over 50% of manufacturing workers have some education beyond high school. In 2011, 53% of all manufacturing workers had at least some college education. [U.S. Dept of Commerce – The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs - May 2012]

What is advanced manufacturing?

The next time you are using the controller to play your favorite video game, riding your bike, or just drying your hair with a blow dryer, look closely at the features of the device. Someone had to think of it, design it, and then make it. Someday, that person could be you. Pretty much everything that you use in everyday life involves advanced manufacturing. Advanced manufacturing includes the process of ideas (design) to reality (manufacturing). Today’s manufacturers make use of sophisticated computer software such as three-dimensional CAD and CAM, cutting edge materials, and high-tech machines to design, build, and test new products. This exciting career is limited only by your ability to imagine.

Are there well-paying jobs available in this field?

Yes. Manufacturing offers premium jobs. In 2010, the average U.S. manufacturing worker earned $77,186 annually, including pay and benefits, while the average non-manufacturing worker earned $56,436. [Source: National Assoc. of Manufacturers 2012 -]. In our region, entry-level precision machine set-up operators can make $35,000 to $45,000 or more annually, while experienced precision machinist earnings range from $40,000 to $75,000 annually.

Our capability to retain our competitive advantage in today’s economy is predicated on our ability to be innovative and have access to new technology development and a highly skilled workforce. The Pathways to Prosperity program strengthens this capability moving forward.Dan Hayden President of West Springfield-based Hayden Corporation

Do you want to...

  • Prepare for your future and get a head start on college and an exciting career?
  • Take challenging classes that help you solve real world problems?
  • Participate in exciting activities organized by your school to build your knowledge about advanced manufacturing?
  • Take tuition-free, college credit courses while in high school?
  • Gain career skills by participating in real work experiences at local advanced manufacturing companies?
  • Get on the path to an Associate degree from Springfield Technical Community College and a career in advanced manufacturing

What are the advantages of starting on a career pathway?

By beginning a career pathway as you enter high school, you will have many advantages: your guidance counselor will design a program of study that will prepare you well for college; you will have the opportunity to learn about exciting and lucrative career programs at Springfield Technical Community College; you will meet current industry professionals and learn firsthand how design and manufacturing engineers work; you will be able to earn credit for college courses while completing your high school diploma; and if you take advantage of the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school, you may be able to complete your college education in a shorter amount of time.

Industry and Community Partners

The Pathways program will enable small- and medium-sized companies to grow by ensuring the availability of a sustained talent pipeline that possess the skills needed to perform more complex manufacturing processes.Christopher Kielb, President of West Springfield-based Advance Welding


For more information and details on how to enroll please contact:

Eric Hanson
Pathways Director
(413) 263-3400 x6158